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Irish Georgian Society London + Forman + Field

St Patrick’s Celebration

It’s never held on the actual day to avoid clashes with myriad other invites. So this year once again the night after St Patrick’s Day the Irish Georgian Society celebrated in style with well delivered talks over well delivered dinner. Best known for seafood, Forman + Field came up trumps with the evening meal. Proving how diversified the company has become, the vegetarian option was Peter’s Yard crispbreads with field mushroom and tarragon pâté; vegetarian shepherd’s pie with courgette and pea salad; and apricot tarte tatin. Artisanal; traditional; delightful. As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would say, “Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!”

Lance Forman explained, “Forman + Field is a family business. We scour the British Isles for small scale producers and farmers who share our passion for doing things properly, with integrity and respect for natural ingredients. We’ve been around for almost 120 years so we know how to cure and smoke. We’re the original salmon smokers and the only smokehouse left from the generation that invented smoked salmon as a culinary luxury. Yes, here in London, not in Scotland or Scandinavia.”

Irish Georgian Society London Trustee Robert Jennings gave a lecture on the Society’s 2019 events. The first event discussed was a walking tour of the “reassuringly the same” Jermyn Street, St James’s. “Shops like Floris have been here for centuries,” he remarked. “Arriving in 1885, Turnbull and Asser is quite a newcomer. Made to measure shirts there start at £275. Next door, Paxton and Whitfield fromagerie is Irish Georgian Society heaven!” The annual 20 Ghost Club Tour (to the west of Ireland in 2019), combining vintage architecture with vintage cars and vintage wine, included a visit to a tin tabernacle. “We don’t just do grand houses.” There were of course still plenty of grand houses on the agenda including Lissadell in County Sligo. “It’s either bleak or pure depending on your point of view.”

Donough Cahill, Executive Director of the Irish Georgian Society, spoke next about education, scholarship, buildings at risk and conservation projects. He expressed dismay at the closure of the Georgian House Museum on Dublin’s Fitzwilliam Street. “Will Dublin be the only Georgian city without its own Georgian house museum? Bath and Edinburgh both have their own.” A success story was the campaign to halt the demolition of the 18th century former Kildare Street Hotel. Irish Georgian Society London Chairman John Barber, Deputy Lieutenant of the London Borough of Newham, concluded the evening. He declared, “We’re all going to have another great year!” As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge might say, “Bíodh bliain iontach agaibh gach duine!”


Pod Lososiem + Under the Salmon Restaurant Gdańsk

Very Sexy Fish

Pod Lososiem translates as Under the Salmon. We decline the 40 percent proof Goldwasser liqueur or we’ll be Under the Table. The building began life in 1598 as an inn and distillery called Der Lachs (The Salmon). It was founded by Ambroży Vermollen. The fishy angle is a salmon sculpture over the door on the salmon coloured façade. Hence the name. Geddit. Not as abstract as it sounds. George Bush Senior, Margaret Thatcher and Princess Anne have all dined here (not at the same time). Two other guests (not together), Pope John Paul II and the Duchess of Cambridge, have pierogi (dumplings) named after them. Such an honour!

The restaurant has been owned by the Robakowski family since its reconstruction in 1976. Established by Gerard, it is now run by his son Mieczyslaw and grandson Damian. Today, the elder is sommelier; the younger, waiter. Pod Lososiem is not without its admirers, famous or otherwise. Saturday lunch is fully booked (at least) seven months in advance. So Sunday lunch is the alternative. First impressions are this isn’t for the faint hearted. It’s a bastion of full blooded exuberance. And that’s just the rococo entrance hall plastered and stuccoed and burnished and furnished to within a square inch of its life.

The food lives up to the wallpaper, so to speak. Chef Janusz Małyszko’s mighty fish selection served with crayfish (well, if it’s good enough for Catherine…) is maximalism on a plate. Soon stuffed to the gills, there’s always room for cinnamon crème brûlée. The two tiered dining room is awash with a nautical theme from enormous fish tiles to a boat suspended from the ceiling. A bounty’s worth of silver glimmers from a glass cabinet.